UK gears up for F-35

As the initial F-35Bs return to the UK to form the Royal Air Force’s No 617 Squadron, Jamie Hunter talks to the team that’s testing new weapons and taking the aircraft to the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier for the first time.

RAF 100

F-35B BF-02 during test flying with externally mounted ASRAAM and Paveway IV UK weapons in 2013.
BAE test pilot Pete ‘Wizzer’ Wilson is STOVL Lead Test Pilot for the F-35 programme. BAE Systems

BAE Systems is one of Lockheed Martin’s most important industry partners in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme and Martin Peters has a vital role to play in the development of the type. He is the company’s F-35 flight test manager and test lead for STOVL (short take-off and vertical landing). Speaking from his office at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, he told AFM: “We’ve had a core team in the flight test community since 2002.” This has included significant participation by British flight test engineers in the $55bn System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase.

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